Who is qualified to counsel nouthetically? As we peer into the pages of Scripture, we see that it is assumed that all Christians should be engaging in NC. Two key passages say so quite explicitly: Romans 15:14 and Colossians 3:16.
Do you realize that everyone counsels, but not all counsel biblically? Think back over this past week. Have you “offered advice” to someone in the office or at church? Have you called someone going through a difficult time and spoken words of encouragement to them? Many times people counsel and do not even realize they are doing so. Many times Christians are not biblical in their “counsel” because they: speak only that what is “pleasing” to the hearer, or simply repeat what they’ve heard popular TV hosts have spouted, or just give advice that is not biblically based. It is important to engage in nouthetic counseling / biblical counseling as we are instructed to do so from Scripture.
Perhaps this is stating the obvious, but pastors ought to be engaging in nouthetic counseling, both in preaching and one-to-one ministry. The Apostle Paul indicates that this is a very basic goal in pastoral ministry, Colossians 1:28. Paul modeled nouthetic ministry throughout his travels. His instruction was not primarily to a church as a whole, but in his epistles we see recorded his counseling “load”. He invested in individuals and no doubt confronted them, showed concern for them and exhorted them to change to follow Christ and his Word.
What do you think about your role as a nouthetic counselor? Do you embrace this calling as a vital member in the body of Christ? Does it make you nervous? Are you confident with your knowledge of God’s Word and your ability to advise others with it?
In our next post on biblical counseling, we’ll expand our thoughts on who “biblical counselors” are.